What is the Kraslag?

What is the Kraslag?

The Kraslag (Krasnoyarsk reform labour camp, not to be mixed up with the Kraslag Yenisseystroy) - was a typical lumbering camp, founded early in 1938 at the same time with those analogous camps, such as Unshlag, Vyatlag, Ussollag and Sewurallag.

The Kraslag administration was situated in Kansk, however, moved to the Reshot station (settlement of Nishnaya Poyma) in 1946 (definitely in 1948), where, until today, you will find the Administration, postbox Y-235.

As for the territorial point of view, the Kraslag camp points were scattered all over several districts in the South-Eastern part of the Krasnoyarsk region.

Like in all wood-cutting camps, the camp sub-sectors of the Kraslag were not very big: just for 600-800, rarely more than 1000 prisoners. In 1938-1939 and 1941-1945 the prisoners in this camp wasted and passed away from hunger, pellagra and dysentery in the same way as happened in all the other wood-cutting camps. In those times mortality could reach an annual average of 7-8%.

The first transports of detainees into the Kraslag came from the prisons of Primorye, Chabarovsk, Chita and Ukrainia (from the Donbas, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kiev and obviously from Crimea, as well), and also from prisons in Kazakhstan (among others: Alma-Ata and Semipalatinsk). Later, in 1939 and 1940, prisoner transports from Leningrad and Middle Russia came to the Kraslag, the majority being political prisoners.

In summer 1941 several thousand Lithuanian citizens, who had all been arrested between the 13 and 19 June 1941, were transported and chased into the Kraslag.

Many of them died in the years 1941-1942. Only late in 1942 and early in 1943 they were "formally done with" in a special conference (special session), so that a great number of Lithuanians were sentenced posthumously. Most of them received a prison sentence of 5 to 10 years, some were sentenced to "VMN" (= maximum penalty = shooting) and were shot in the Kansk prison.

In January 1942 they drove several thousands of Volga-Germans into the Kraslag, including those, who got into exile in the Krasnoyarsk area. Of course, they had neither been given a paragraph nor a term of imprisonment. All this was called "Trud Army". The Germans were hold captive in seperate zones, the so-called "sections", with the same barbed wire fences, the same watch-towers, the same guard detachments, the same barracks, the same rations, the same norms, the same pellagra and the same dysentery. However, in the "Trud Army" zones action was taken by party and komsomol organizations, but actually nobody had the right to be admitted. The Germans were released in 1946 -, back to exile, of course.

In the second half of the forties prisoner transports from Lvov and other prisons in West Ukrainia arrived in the Kraslag, among them many women. There were also lots of similar transports from prisons in Minsk and Orsha, the majority also being represented by political prisoners.

In the years 1949-1950 most part of the political prisoners from the Kraslag were moved to "special camps". Pestchanlag (= sand camp) and Steplag (steppe camp in Kazakhstan). But afterwards many new political prisoners were detained in the Kraslag. Even after 1956 some still remained there (but obviously only a few).

Until 1950 more than 100.000 prisoners had gone through the Kraslag, and it seems that not less than half of them were political prisoners.


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